Obesity among boys and girls in India is likely to see an annual rise of 9.1 per cent by 2035, if prevention, treatment and support do not improve, warned an alarming global report ahead of World Obesity Day.
World Obesity Day is globally observed on March 4 every year with the view of promoting practical solutions to end the global obesity crisis.
The report World Obesity Atlas 2023, published by World Obesity Federation, showed that in 2020 boys had a 3 per cent obesity risk, but by 2035, the risk will likely go up by 12 per cent and for girls the risk was 2 per cent in 2020, but in 2035, it will rise to 7 per cent.
In the case of adults, the annual increase is pegged at 5.2 per cent. Indian women in 2020 had 7 per cent risk, by 2035, it will rise to 13 per cent. Men, on the other hand, had a 4 per cent risk in 2020, it will rise to 8 per cent in 2025.
The reasons for increased obesity prevalence include rising trends in dietary preferences towards more highly processed foods, greater levels of sedentary behaviour, weaker policies to control the food supply and food marketing, and less well resourced healthcare services to assist in weight management and in health education in the population.
Further, the report showed that lower income countries are facing rapid increases in obesity prevalence. Of the 10 countries with the greatest expected increases in obesity globally, nine are from either Asia or Africa, including India.
Globally, more than 50 per cent of the world population will be living with overweight and obesity by 2035, the report showed.
More than adults, childhood obesity could be more than double by 2035. Boys are likely to see a 100 per cent increase, while girls can see a 125 per cent increase in the risk of obesity. In all, over 1.5 billion adults and nearly 400 million children will be living with obesity in 12 years time unless significant action is taken.
"This year's Atlas is a clear warning that by failing to address obesity today, we risk serious repercussions in the future. It is particularly worrying to see obesity rates rising fastest among children and adolescents," Prof. Louise Baur, President of the World Obesity Federation, said in a statement.
"Governments and policymakers around the world need to do all they can to avoid passing health, social, and economic costs on to the younger generation. That means looking urgently at the systems and root factors that contribute to obesity, and actively involving young people in the solutions. If we act together now, we have the opportunity to help billions of people in the future," Baur added.
The report also predicted that the global economic impact of overweight and obesity will reach $4.32 trillion. In the case of India, the impact of obesity on national GDP would be 1.8 per cent by 2035.
However, the report emphasised that the acknowledgement of the economic impact of obesity "is in no way a reflection of blame on people living with obesity."